Lothlórien

The Companions seek shelter in the hidden Elvish realm of Lothlórien. Its ruler, Galadriel, gives them warnings and gifts, sending them on their way in boats.

Overheard at the Theater

“What’s he gonna do with an avon bottle?”
A man as Frodo is given the phial of Galadriel

Behind-the-Scenes

Jackson shot the Fellowship meeting with the Elves of Lothlórien in two different ways. In the first, which appears in the theatrical cut, Haldir tells the Fellowship they have entered Lothlórien and must go before the Lady of the Wood. In the second, the Fellowship is chased into Lothlórien by the Moria Orcs, only to be rescued by the Elves who are then uncertain of what to do with Frodo since he who carries a great evil. The extended edition uses a combination of both, using the beginning of the first and cutting to the Fellowship after being rescued in the second. (This is why Legolas says, “Our Fellowship stands in your debt.”)

Craig Parker (Haldir) became involved with this production at its earliest stages. He was cast as Frodo in a recorded version of the script Jackson used for his storyboards. If you have the Platinum Series Special Extended Edition (the four disc set that came in a green box), you can hear Parker, as Frodo, narrating the prologue. It is on the first disc of the Appendices, under “Visualizing the Story, Early Storyboards.” Jackson shared this recording with the cast to show them what he had in mind.

The filmmakers added music, borrowed from other films, onto these storyboards to give them an idea how everything was working cinematically. While the Art Department had been listening to the soundtracks of films such as Braveheart (1995) and The Last of the Mohicans (1992) while they worked on their designs, Jackson thought these scores were not subtle enough for The Lord of the Rings. After some experimentation, Jackson found that music from The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Naked Lunch (1991), and Crash (1996), worked surprisingly well with his storyboards. He then noticed that these compositions, as well as others he thought appropriate, were all by the same person: Howard Shore. Shore, who had been a Lord of the Rings fan since he was a boy, was contacted. He gladly offered his services.

What do the Grand Chamber of Rivendell, the interior of Orthanc, and Galadriel’s Glade have in common? The sets were all built at the same spot: Studio A.

Ngila Dickson, costume supervisor, found the Elven cloaks the most difficult costumes to create in terms of finding a material that was realistic but unrealistic at the same time.

Deadline pressure forced Dickson to create multiple designs for some of the main characters’ costumes, so shooting wouldn’t be delayed if Jackson didn’t like how a design looked. The costumes that were made but not worn by the lead actors were used by the extras.

Those darn Elven cloaks forced the Costume Department to redesign the backpacks because of how the two pieces of gear interacted. This is another case where Tolkien could write whatever he wanted, but the filmmakers had to deal with reality. (Think about poor McKellen who originally had to carry around a scarf, a hat, a staff, and a sword wherever he went! No wonder he has Gandalf lose some items throughout the journey.) The packs in the film come up over the shoulders, fit under the arms and tie between the shoulder blades. The quiver of arrows carried by Legolas had to be tied in a complex way to keep it from bobbing around as well.

Monaghan was allergic to his Elven cloak.

When Jackson agreed to cut out the gift-giving scene from the theatrical cut, he made New Line Cinema promise to release the extended edition before The Two Towers — which shows some of the gifts in use — hit the theaters. This is why the extended edition was released in November 2002.

Geeky Observations

So what does Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul (as Gimli says in the extended edition) mean? It loosely translates to: “I’ll be in the third film, and guess who won’t!” Alright, it really means, “I spit on your grave.”

Aragorn’s emphatic Elvish to Haldir in the extended edition, urging him to let Frodo into Caras Galadhon, translates to: “Please understand, we need your support! We need your protection! The road is very dangerous.”

The lyrics for the “Lament for Gandalf” (which Legolas refuses to translate) are three verses about Gandalf coming from the West to guard Middle-earth, but departing too soon.

In the extended edition, when Sam recites his little poem about Gandalf’s fireworks, he speaks of “silver showers.” The scriptwriters must have thought that “golden showers,” as it is in the book, might be taken the wrong way. (I didn’t notice any outrage from the purists here.)

In the extended edition, Boromir tells Frodo that Gandalf would not want him to give up hope. He is being kind. A short time later, Boromir admits to Aragorn that it’s been long since they had any hope.

Boromir says, “My father is a noble man.” Interestingly, his father Denethor is played by John Noble.

“The Scouring of the Shire,” a chapter about the Shire being overrun by thugs, would never make sense at the end of a film adaptation of The Return of the King unless a great deal of exposition was presented first. (And even then it would be anticlimactic.) It does, however, work well as a warning to Frodo in this first film. (And it’s nice to see it somewhere.)

Sean Astin has said that filmmaking is a counterintuitive process, where actors are often forced to pretend the opposite of reality. (For example, if a scene takes place in the snow, it’s usually filmed in a hot studio.) These films take this axiom to a new level. We have Pippin, the youngest of the Hobbits by far, being played by an actor who is older than Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), the embodiment of an ancient Elf. And Blanchett, playing a character noted for being tall, only stands about 5’ 8” while Gimli, noted for being short, is played by an actor who stands over six feet tall. Think about that one while Galadriel looks down upon Gimli!

Lady Galadriel’s gift to Gimli in the extended edition is impressive considering she refused the same request from Fëanor, one of the greatest Elves in Middle-earth history and creator of the palantíri.

This film has some interesting parallels with The Wizard of Oz (1939). Both were filmed about forty years after the books they were based upon were published. Each film is about a young orphan on a quest away far from home who gains companions along the way. Each film includes an homage to a somewhat unpopular previous attempt at a film adaptation (released in 1925 and 1978 respectively). While Oz was being shot, thirty-year-old Buddy Ebsen was replaced by forty-year-old Jack Haley as the Tin Woodsman. While Fellowship was being shot, twenty-six-year-old Stuart Townsend was replaced by forty-one-year-old Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. The Wizard, played by Frank Morgan, appears in Oz only briefly, but Morgan appears throughout the film in other roles. The Lord of the Rings, played by Sala Baker, appears only briefly in The Fellowship of the Ring, but Baker appears throughout the film in other roles as well. Finally, The Wizard of Oz was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture but lost to Gone With the Wind (1939), another adaptation of a book. The Fellowship of the Ring was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture but lost to A Beautiful Mind (2001), an adaptation of a book as well. In 2008, the American Film Institute named their top ten favorite fantasy films: The Wizard of Oz came in first, and The Fellowship of the Ring came in second.

The Foolishness of a Took (Mistakes)

The London Sunday Times interviewed Blanchett in July of 2000. Since the writer of the article didn’t really know what this Lord of the Rings thing was all about, she did a quick search on the internet to get some info to fill out her piece. Thus her article said: “For the uninitiated, Galadriel is the good sister of the evil but beautiful Queen Beruthiel, who imprisons the Fellowship of the Ring in the forest of Lóthlorien. In the book, Galadriel frees them from her sister’s clutches. It’s a small but memorable part, and Blanchett lobbied hard for it.” Kids, this is an example of why you shouldn’t rely on the internet when you do book reports.

When the Fellowship is departing from Lothlórien and Galadriel is riding in her swan boat, a crew member makes an unscheduled cameo behind and to the left of the Elf.

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